You are a successful professional, known as an expert in your field, and valued in your circles of colleagues and partners. Your brand is solid.
But now you’re up to something new. Maybe you’ve gone from being an engineer to being a training consultant, from working in a public school system in Europe to working for a corporation in the U.S, or perhaps from being an employee to being an entrepreneur. I’ve been through all of these and here are some lessons I’ve learned on the way.
What to do with your brand when you are in transition?
- Acknowledge the evolution
Change is all around us – in nature, in families, and definitely in businesses. As we gain new experiences, we discover new possibilities, we try different approaches, and we evolve based on our internal and external forces. When you know that you are in transition, face it. See it for what it is. See it as a natural part of life.
- Tell others
Let people know what’s happening. Do you remember the transition from The Bon Marche through Bon-Macy’s to Macy’s? We all knew it was happening and it allowed us to adjust to the change. You don’t have to have it all figured out, but letting your network of supporters know that you’re changing your focus/title/status/address/field of expertise, etc., will allow them to adjust with you to your transition. Also, your network will be able to support you in the change and perhaps connect you to new people who’ve been through a similar transition or landed successfully where you are trying to get.
- Bridge the past with the future
You know that your change is not random. It most likely has something to do with your past experiences. Make sure you communicate that message. Maybe you’ve realized what the common denominator behind all the tasks you liked to do and now you want to give it your full focus. Or perhaps you clearly see that the dream you had early on never died and intensified while you were growing your career further and further away from it. There is a story that makes sense for you. Communicating that story will help others understand that this is still you, just evolving.
- Adjust your network
When you change your address, you change your neighbors. Similarly, when you transition, you have to expect that you won’t be around certain people any more. Plan for it. Make sure you can still keep in touch with your connections. Nothing happens in isolation and people in your life helped you succeed so far. Don’t forget about them. At the same time, as you are entering a new world, look around for new contacts. See it more as an enrichment of your network rather than a replacement.
You may be hesitant about big changes, especially if you have a well-established brand. If you learn how to handle your brand transitions well, you’ll be open to an ongoing evolution. That will make you flexible, and therefore stronger in the face of ever-changing reality.
Henrieta Riesco is a founder of Intentional Career. She is all about meaningful conversation to empower professionals on their career journey. After experiences like being a teacher and a corporate trainer in Slovakia, or a customer advocate and a training consultant for 10+ years at Microsoft, she is comfortable with calling herself a Career Coach. You can follow Henrieta via Twitter, or via her blog.